Bognor Regis, The Silence of the Lambs and pantomime

The Silence of The Lambs, believe it or not, will be one of the inspirations for Jamie Bannerman when he takes to the stage as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Bognor Regis’ pantomime this Christmas.

“I have been studying the way Dustin Hoffman plays Hook,” says Jamie, originally from Haywards Heath. “So there is going to be a little bit of that in there, but I have also been thinking about Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. There is something about that voice! There is something very sinister about it.”

Jamie                       pic by Wayne Humphrey

Jamie pic by Wayne Humphrey

But don’t worry. Jamie knows his limits. He is promising exactly the good fun panto villain you’d expect at the venue.

“I have been working with Spillers (pantomimes) for a long time now. This will be my 12th year with them, and I was here in Bognor with them as the lion in The Wizard of Oz in 2010. I think Bognor is a great pantomime venue. The last time I was here, it went down very well. We always had a nice audience here.

“And audiences do actually change. This year I was touring as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, and we went all over the place. The audience definitely did vary. Up north they seemed to be a bit more lively. Down south they tend to be a bit more reserved. But really it just depends on the night sometimes.”

Panto was in some ways where it all began for Jamie: “I used to be in amateur productions with Burgess Hill Theatre Club. My first role was in The Wizard of Oz as a munchkin when I was five. My family realised I loved the theatre from a young age. I suppose I was quite outgoing as a kid, and my mum just said ‘Put him on the stage!’ I don’t think they really knew quite what to do with me!

“At secondary school I wasn’t very good at much other than drama and English, and I thought I would give acting a shot. I did GCSE drama and then at Lewes Tertiary College I did two years’ performing arts, and then I went to LAMDA for three years. It was really good. The training was very intense. You had to fit a lot into those three years, and it was a great school.

“I graduated in 1999, a bit of a while ago. But it has been good since, really good. The first couple of years you struggle a bit to find your feet, but then after that it has been pretty constant. I have actually just done a small part in EastEnders as a detective. It’s just the one episode, but it was one of those characters that could come back.

“I think finding your feet is finding a good agent, having a good show reel. It’s about knowing some casting directors and getting a good CV together, about getting a bit of experience and taking your chances.”

Of which Captain Hook is certainly one.

“As I say, I did the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, but I want to play Captain Hook a bit differently. The Sheriff is sleazy and slimy. Hook is a bit more royal, so that’s what I want to do. I have been thinking of Dustin Hoffman in the role in the film.”

And also, ominously, that nasty Mr Lecter!

“You have just got to draw on a few things and build up the picture!”

Peter Pan is at Bognor’s Regis Centre from December 16-January 3. Tickets on 01243 861010.

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